One Stitch at a Time

I am a crazy person.

I think we’ve pretty well established that fact around here, but lately I have even more proof. Because with 6 weeks before the event, I somehow volunteered to make 2 bridesmaid dresses and completely makeover a wedding gown for a friend.

I should say here that said friend has been close to me since my junior year of high school; she’s one of the few people from that time I’m still in regular contact with, apart from Ash. Neither of us has a lot of money, so it’s been understood from the beginning that the wedding would be on a tight budget, and her gift from me would not be particularly extravagant. She knows this is her wedding gift from me.

Anyway, I am taking her mother’s quintessential 1980s wedding dress from J.C. Penny, and making it over into something…more to her taste. She was especially adamant that we keep or reuse as much of the lace as possible.

Silly me, I failed to take “before” photos. But the process has/will include:

  1. removing the leg-o-mutton puff sleeves and moving the lace lower sleeve up
  2. adding fabric so the lower sleeve will accommodate her upper arms
  3. removing the skirt and replacing with a lighter weight hi-lo skirt
  4. adding a sheer overly to the entire dress, which means removing appliqued lace, then reapplying
  5. adding decorative buttons to the back
  6. adding corset lacing to the sides of the bodice (which fits but is rather snug
  7. this will sneak a bit of ease into the dress, and also make it more breathable since it’s 100% nylon)
  8. and lastly removing or covering up some mystery stains.

So far, the bodice is almost done. I still need to tack down a few places on the appliqued lace and add the corset lacing, but everything else is done. My main concern was the structural integrity of the fabric, but the lace has held up so far. I’ve got a couple more hours of hand finishing, and then I can add the skirt.














It’s very hard to see the overlay in these shots, but I added a layer of very pale blue tulle. This gives the dress a subtle shimmer, and also changes the color slightly, since the bride has always wanted to get married in blue, rather than white.

Blue is one of their wedding colors, so all the bridesmaid dresses are blue. Our instructions were to find “A 40s or 50s style dress, something comfortable you’ll wear again, in any shade of blue. Prints are okay.”

I picked out a galaxy fabric from JoAnns, with little gold stars on it. Here’s a closer shot of the print. Unfortunately, my phone did not like how busy it was and refused to focus properly.


This is taken from a vintage pattern from the early 1960s, but with the full skirt you really can’t tell. It’s the same pattern I used for this dress, but I added sleeves. It does, of course, have pockets. Unfortunately, I forgot that most patterns do not work for my narrow shoulders, so I will have to take in the neckline before the wedding, but that’s not a hardship.

I absolutely love this dress, and can’t wait to wear it. I’m saving it for the wedding, though.

2 thoughts on “One Stitch at a Time”

  1. Being thoughtful and kind by making a special wedding gift is not being crazy. You are showing your love and appreciation for your friend by taking on a wonderful, gigantic challenge. I’m sure the outcome will be very beautiful. You’ll need a wedding photo or two on your blog after the event.


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